Monday, April 16, 2007

Hassids and a Movie

So as many of you know, I live in Williamsburg Brooklyn. If you haven't been here before, the sort of people that live here, generally fall in one of the 4H's: Hipster, Hispanic, Hoodlum, or Hassid. The area I live in is predominantly Hassidic. Now Hassidics I've come to observe are very private and extremely peculiar. The other day I was walking out of my apartment to go play music with some friends when two young Hassid girls, about 15yrs old stopped me on the sidewalk. They asked me if I could help them with their oven. They had very thick accents and I was very surprised they were speaking to me so I asked them to repeat. They said that they needed help with their oven on the fourth floor and emphasized that it was okay because they had an elevator. I was of course curious and they and their little brothers seemed harmless enough. So I took the elevator up and they took the stairs and met me on the fourth floor. They led me into their spotless apartment that looked un-lived in and directed me to the stove. Two of the gas burners were on high with nothing on the stovetop. The eldest girl motioned to the stove and asked me to simply turn off the 2 burners. I did as they asked, they thanked me and I left. I know they can't use electricity on the Sabbath I think but this was like a Wednesday so I don't know what it was all about. It of course had something to do with their religion. Whatever it was, they felt it so important that they follow this rule that they left their apartment unattended with gas burners on high putting all their belongings at risk of burning down and let a complete stranger, a gentile no less into their apartment.

On another note I saw the movie, Black Book, last night. The film, directed by Paul Verhoeven, who directed Robocop and Showgirls, was nothing at all like those movies, but rather was a World War II Resistance thriller/drama about a Jewish singer who fights both for survival and against the Nazis by seduction, cunning wit, and spy tactics. The movie had one of the most dense plots I'd seen in a while and I was intensely engaged from start to finish. Dutch-born Verhoeven also directed one of my favorite movies as a kid, Total Recall. This was his first return to the Dutch screen in over 20 years. With movie ticket prices in NYC so high, about $11-12 on average, I tend to pick and choose what movies I see in theaters rather sparingly with a bit of scrutiny. I found Black Book to be a very worthwhile 2hour escape from reality and money well spent.